Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT-Austin meets qualifications to be Hispanic-Serving Institution

Sierra Wiggers

UT-Austin surpassed 25% Hispanic undergraduate enrollment for the first time, according to a Sept. 22 press release, qualifying UT to apply to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution. 

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are eligible institutions of higher education with 25% or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time enrollment, according to the United States Department of Education website. This fall, the University reached 26.1% undergraduate Hispanic enrollment. 

University spokesperson J.B. Bird said UT can’t be designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution until next year because the Department of Education requires an institution to reach 25% Hispanic undergraduate enrollment in the year prior to designation. If UT is designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution, it will be eligible for three discretionary grants from the Department of Education to support Hispanic students. 

John Morán González, director of UT’s Center for Mexican American Studies, said being able to apply for the federal funding will help increase Hispanic student success. 

“This particular event is incidental to that ongoing mission of recruitment,” Morán González said. “(The University) is going to continue its efforts in terms of recruitment and retention because I think … the future success of the University really is dependent upon Hispanic student success.”


Morán González said he believes the more important milestone is the four-year graduation rate being above 70%. This year, UT’s four year graduation rate was 72.2%, an increase from 69.8% in 2019, according to the press release.

“If you look at the statistics underneath (the graduation rate), students of color, but particularly Hispanic students, have to be doing pretty well in order for the University to meet that 70% goal,” Morán González said. 

Deborah Parra-Medina, Latino Research Institute director, said the Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost undertook a Universitywide assessment of the status of Hispanic students, staff and faculty at UT during the 2018-2019 academic year. 

Parra-Medina said the council’s assessment found that Hispanic students had a lower enrollment rate. She said one way to increase this enrollment rate is to build relationships with students and their families in their hometowns. 

Morán González said one effort by the admissions office includes the Brownsville Send-off. The event began in 1993 to welcome students from the Rio Grande Valley and ensure parents their students are in good hands, according to a press release from July 2018. 

“(The students) get their parents, get their abuelos, get their hermanos and hermanas together in a community with other families to see them off,” Morán González said.

Corporate communications senior Vallery Valle said she has been involved with recruitment and retention efforts for Hispanic and Latinx students as a student representative on the Subcommittee for Hispanic Recruitment in the Office of Admissions. 

Valle said the grants associated with being a Hispanic-Serving Institution need to be used with the intention of effectively helping Hispanic and Latinx students.

“We need this money allocated,” Valle said. “But I hope — and I'm going to fight until I graduate — that this money and these grants aren't just used for the name of being an HSI but are truly used to help the families and the Latinx (students) on campus.”

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UT-Austin meets qualifications to be Hispanic-Serving Institution